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Blues Blast Magazine, USA Issue 9-8 February 2015

Album review for 'EXPOSED' 'Exciting things are on the horizon for this up and coming band'.

Zoe and the band have been together for just 3 years.  Together with guitarist and co-band leader Rob Koral they cherry picked the members of the band from people they and worked with before.  Each member of the band is a well-established musician in their own right.  For example, drummer Paul Robinson, was Nina Simone's main drummer for 19 years; he has also worked extensively with Van Morrison, Paul McCartney and many more. This release has 13 original tunes, 12 written by Zoe and rob... and 1 written by Rob and Sue Hawker.

The sound is very unique and captivating ranging from jazz, blues, and soul.  The band pride themselves in filling their albums and live sets with high quality, original material.  The proof of the band chemistry is well demonstrated by the sheer out-put of material (3 albums in 3 years) and the tangible intensity and passion of this album.  The musical diversity of the band members bring a depth and uniqueness to their sound which is hard to pigeon-hole and categorise.  The sheer virtuosity of each of the band members is given free rein to express itself and bring personal magic to the song writing of Zoe and Rob.

Interesting and vibrant song that caught my attention are listed below:

Song 11: "I Wonder Who My Next Man Will Be" - this track was written at breakfast after the band decided another "earthy" blues tune was needed. There is infectious hand clapping during the song along with sweet harmonica playing.

Song 10: "I'm Glad" - Apparently this was Zoe's catch phrase at college. A nice, happy, and upbeat song that will make you feel good if nothing else.

Song 4: "Let's Explain" - This track is a tribute to the late Billie Hoiday.  The song is slow, sezy and very captivating with biographical lyrics. It is easy to get lost in this one.

Song 7: "If I Had Wings" - Rob Koral wrote a poem the day his and Zoe's daughter was born.  The lyrics speak of warmth and love that the couple shares.  Heart warming words of "together we can't fail" will pull at the listener's heartstrings.

Band members are as follow: Zoe Schwarz, vocals; rob Koral, guitar; Pete Whittaker, Hammond organ; Si Genaro, harmonica; Paul Robinson, drums and percussion.

The entourage has been called "a whip-crack band and a six-foot blond clad in black with bling... Zoe's expressive voice and a confident band with impressive material."  Other sources note, "Zoe and her band have reached the point where they cannot be ignored and are poised to make the international breakthrough they deserve".  Other accolades include the fact that this is the band's third album effort. Previous releases were done in 2012 and 2013.

Zoe tours and has many gigs overseas. Exciting things are on the horizon for this up and coming band.  

33 Records, United Kingdom, 13 songs, 56:49 minutes

    • Words by: Shannon Courto